What is our primary use case?
We use it for generalized workloads in a hypervisor situation, either VMM or Hyper-V. It is used for any particular workloads that the government has for this purpose. It is sometimes used for dedicated hardware as well, so it provides the flexibility as we need it. We can also grow because we can easily expand it from its initial chassis.
How has it helped my organization?
It gives you a lot to work with. The problem with this is then you don't know what you want to do anymore. By making it very versatile, it also gives you too many choices.
Depending on how we deploy, we are seeing application performance improvements as we have plenty of horsepower in the solution. However, at the moment, we have development issues, not performance issues.
What is most valuable?
The ability to have the configurations for it: The blades, the service profiles, and making a standard for it. This makes it easy for the other members on our team when setting things up, because there is already a template for them to use.
I like that everything is integrated, and we can change the port to whatever we need, e.g., Fibre Channel. It is very nice to work with, as it gives the ability to have more choices: Do we want to have more Fibre Channels, iSCSI, or some type of MetroClusters? We can do all this with if we have bandwidth.
What needs improvement?
The ability to manage the templates across sites. We would like to easily take out the configuration of one FlexPod and copy it over, just making minor changes. There is a way to do it, but it's clumsy.
There is a bit of a learning curve for a new person in understanding FlexPod and going through each of section of making a template for SAN, hardware, networking, etc. The flow isn't very good. The software should be more geared to a top-flow design versus a bottom-up.
I would also like them to improve some integration on the HCI part.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's very stable. I find it's almost mainframe grade.
We had issues where we had some of the aisle modules failed. Even though its half the system, it was still up and no one actually knew why it was down. It was down for a few days before we could get it fixed. However, it didn't affect anybody else and that includes our major environment. This was at one of our bigger sites and nothing happened.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It scales easily. We went through an upgrade of adding additional chassis, and it wasn't a big deal.
How is customer service and technical support?
Their technical support is very good. I don't think we have had a call that lasted longer than a couple days, and it was only for one issue where something didn't work properly. It wasn't exactly a hardware problem, but it wasn't a software problem. It was just one of those strange anomalies.
How was the initial setup?
The upgrade was straightforward. There wasn't anything special involved. What we found out is that since no one is using templates properly that we could have done things even faster if we had used the templates. Since then, we use them all across all the sites.
What was our ROI?
We have seen our data center rack space collapse about 90 percent. We have a data center which only has two racks now out of the 20 that were there previously.
We have also reduced our manpower with the solution.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We may consider another solution for the HCI. We have not decided yet.
What other advice do I have?
Know what your use case will be for and figure out whether you are going on-premise or want a hybrid solution. This will change what you need. If you are going to do some hybrid stuff, you may need to decide to create your own software to make the hybrid connection or you can use HCI. This may change the things you want to buy.
We are trying to decide if we want to go to a private, hybrid or multi-cloud environment. We don't have any services to deploy VMs yet on the cloud.